The EarthX Film Festival runs in Dallas Texas May 12-15 with some films being virtually available. The documentary “Tigre Gent” explores the illegal jaguar trade in Bolivia occurring in Madidi National Park and the finger is pointed directly to the Chinese traditional medicine market. What did former First Lady Nancy Regan say about drug consumption, “Just Say No!”. A simplistic and ignorant statement in many respects but true in other respects. Time has come for the Chinese consumer to say no.
In illegal logging in the Palawan Rainforest in the Philippines as in Bolivia the pattern is the same for illegal logging as it is for the trade in jaguar teeth in Bolivia. At the bottom there are the poor felling trees and hunting jaguars with middlemen and a “big boss” selling illegal products to buyers. In this case if there was no demand in China the diminishing jaguar population would be protected. The answer is not the vilification of the Chinese with anti-Chinese demonstrations but through education.
The PRC has passed legislation prohibiting the trade in endangered animal products but as long as there is a junkie for these animal products the trade will survive. In China’s case it is traditional medicine that fuels the demand and it has been passed down generation after generation that is understandable but we are at a point in time where Chinese consumers must surely recognize their consumption of endangered animal products is morally and legally wrong. The time has run out for excuses based on cultural “norms”.
Park rangers in Madidi National Park in Bolivia do their best to clamp down on the killing of jaguars by arresting hunters and middlemen and help bust a ring in Sana Cruz headed by a Chinese couple. 185 jaguar teeth are seized the product of killing 53 jaguars. The Chinese woman is sentenced to three years in prison while her husband flees to China. The middle levels are arrested too but the ultimate consumer escapes! Bolivians go on anti-Chinese demonstrations.
An exciting but terribly sad documentary. The only ray of hope is an investigative reporter speaking to primary school students in Hong Kong gasping when hearing the reporter as a child ate shark fin soup.
Director Elizabeth Unger. For information on live and virtual screenings https://earthxfilmfestival.org/title-item/tigre-gente/
RKS Film Rating 92/100.